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Sunday, November 15, 2015

Chunky Onions, Tomatoes, Cucumber and Pomegranate Raita

Raita is an Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi side dish made with yogurt, together with raw or cooked vegetables, more seldom fruit, or in the case of boondi raita, with fried droplets of batter made from besan (chickpea flour, generally labelled as gram flour).
The closest approximation in western cuisine is a side dish or dip, or a cooked  salaf. It is often referred to as a condiment, but unlike traditional western condiments like, salt, pepper, mustard and horseradish that made dishes more spicy, a dish of  raita has a cooling effect to contrast with spicy curries and kebabs that are the main fare of some Asian cuisines. In vegetarian Indian cuisine, some type of flat bread may be eaten together with Raita, chutneys and pickles.
The yogurt may be seasoned with cilantro roasted cumin seeds; mint,  cayenne pepper, dil and other herbs and spices.
I make Raita quite often, it goes very well with spicy Indian curries and rice. I use same base of yogurt and spices. I make fruit raitas and also use different vegetables and ingredients for example shredded cucumber for Cucumber raita (recipe on this blog)  Boondi for Boondi raita (recipe on this blog), ground fresh Mint/cilantro and cucumber for cucumber mint raita, very finely chopped spinach for spinach raita, and one of my favorite finely chopped Bathua for Bathua raita (I haven't come across this green over here, the local name for this  here is Goose foot leaves, or Lambs quarter or All good leavea (botanical name is Chenopodium album).
You can chop this finely to make raita as well.
I can't wait to get my hands on this greens, so I can post my favorite recipes of Bathua Stuffed Paratha,  Bathua bhaji, which are are out of this world, we used to use this quite a bit in northern India. Has lot of health benefit and consider brain food.  Once I find this green here in US I will be posting these recipes. You can mix and match any vegetable to make raita.
Anyways I am not going to keep you from the recipe that I started to post.
Another hint, you can also add finely chopped red. orange or green peppers in this raita along with onions, tomatoes, cucumbers and pomegranate.

3 cups of plain yogurt
1/2 cup of fat free sour cream  (optional)
1 small (6-8”) English cucumber
1 red onion chopped finely
1 small pomegranate
2 firm ripe tomatoes chopped
½ Jalapeno pepper chopped
1 tablespoon of Cilantro chopped
1 teaspoon of salt or to taste
2 teaspoons of Roasted cumin seeds (crushed)
½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon of black pepper coarsely ground
¼ teaspoon of paprika
¼ teaspoon of black salt (optional)

*Peel and seed the pomegranate.
*Finely chop onion, cucumber and tomatoes
*Add it to yogurt with cilantro and chopped Jalapeno.
*Mix sour cream and yogurt and make it smooth without chunks
*Add all dry spices in to yogurt except salts
*Mix well, then add salt before serving as adding salt long before serving will make the riata watery and yogurt may turn sour a little
*Taste it and if need more salt you can add it to your taste.
*Garnish with Cilantro and pomegranate seeds.


Raita information Source:
Recipe and Photographs by Surekha.

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